What’s Making Me Happy This Week: Tunde Olaniran – Namesake

The massive chorus on this track by the artist from Flint, Michigan has been my happy place, my daily pick-me-up for a couple of weeks now (Thanks, NPR Music’s Austin 100!) Then I discovered the corresponding music video – amazing!

Also great this week, but more local: Queergestreift, a local LGBTI film festival. I got to see Moonlight (I had really high expectations, and the movie exceeded them all) Coming Out (the first and only gay movie from the former German Democratic Republic, an interesting and well-made portrait of 1989) and The Fits (an magic movie about black girlhood, dance, gender, and coming-of-age. Watch out for director Anna Rose Holmer and young actress Royalty Hightower)  A couple of great movies are still coming up, the festival is on at Zebra Kino Konstanz until next week.

However, I might not get to see many of them, as I’ll also attend my first barcamp, #BCBS17 here in Konstanz. I’m excited. 

“Let’s hear it for your third attempt at trying to hack it in the real world”

“Snitch Jacket” is a great new song by Two Inch Astronaut, offering, as Lars Gotrich for NPR Music puts it, “real talk – whether you’re a 20-something or just endlessly haunted by past failures.” Two Inch Astronaut is post-punk in the same way I’m post-graduate. Potentially professional, perennially yearning. 

Two Inch Astronaut’s new record  “Can You Please Not Help” will be out June 2nd via Exploding In Sound Records

Gaelynn Lea’s Tiny Desk Concert

Gaelynn Lea’s performance at NPR’s Tiny Desk was released yesterday (and shot this week) and it’s about as wonderful as I hoped. She performed her winning song “Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun” and “Southwind,” a centuries old fiddle tune. For the second half of the performance she was joined by Low’s Alan Sparhawk and together they played two The Murder of Crows’ tracks. 

Gaelynn Lea: Someday We’ll Linger in the Sun 

Gaelyn Lea, a classical violinist/fiddle player from Duluth, Minnesota, is the winner of the 2016 NPR Tiny Desk Concert, and I am so glad they introduced me to her music. With her violin, a loop pedal and her voice she creates these spellbinding, odd melodies and harmonies that remind me not only of Joanna Newsome (obvs) but also of this production of Peer Gynt I saw in Wales in the 90s that’s been haunting me since.

The winning video itself is incredibly simple, but her music and performance captivate you. She gave a great interview to Bob Boilen and Robin Hilton in which she talks about her approach to music, her project Murder of Crows (with Low’s Alan Sparhawk) and also her disability.

I’m so looking forward to her Tiny Desk performance.

“Warning: Kate Tempest will connect you with your emotions and the cold, callous world around you. You may cry.” 

Bob Boilen is right, and this NPR Tiny Desk performance by Kate Tempest is stunning. The first track is a spoken word piece about soldiers coming home form war fought for gold, and the two hiphop tracks are hits in the KwAkE BASS remix. 

The New Torres Album is Even Better than the Hype

The new Torres album Sprinter is even better than the  hype by NPR Music had me believe.
Strange Hellos is still one of the biggest songs I’ve heard in quite a while with an amazing musical breadth and emotional depth.
A Proper Polish Welcome is as intimate and enchanting on the record as it was as a SXSW lullaby.
Yet it’s the longwinded, slow, quiet moments Ferris Wheel and The Exchange that stun me the most. The songs are built on Mackenzie Scott’s voice and guitar, and the rest of the instrumentation (PJ Harvey collaborators Robert Ellis and Ian Olliver) and production (Ellis and Portishead’s Adrian Utley) support that strong core to perfection. I’ve only begun to scratch the surface of the poetic lyrics.  On Sprinter, Scott’s words tell stories, reflect, and erupt into intimacy. The album manages to create a bridge between confessional poetry (in the good sense) and rock album(also in the good sense). Instant classic.